Best known for her writing about Appalachia and for her novel The Tall Woman, Dykeman wrote 18 books, thousands of newspaper columns and won countless awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Pride of Tennessee Award for her commitment to education and the humanities. She shared (with her husband, James Stokely) the 1957 Sidney Hillman Award for Neither Black Nor White, deemed the year's best book on peace, race relations or civil rights.
Dykeman was popular as a public speaker, giving 50 to 75 lectures a year. She also taught classes at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. During the period 1978 to 1982 she served as a consultant to the Children's Museum of Oak Ridge for its "An Appalachian Experience" public education project, of which her son James R. Stokely III was executive director. The project resulted in the development of teaching materials on Appalachia and the 1982 publication of An Encyclopedia of East Tennessee, edited by James R. Stokely III and Jeff D. Johnson.